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Breaking Down Cannabidiol: CBD vs THC

If you are new to supplements, specifically hemp-based ones, you may wonder about CBD vs THC as far as which one you should take. As they are both found in the cannabis plant, you might be wondering which one works better for inflammation, anxiety, and sleep. Will CBD get you high like THC does? What's the best choice for a quality wellness supplement?

The truth is that while they come from the same plant, THC and CBD are different in many significant ways. Let's go over some of the biggest differences between these two compounds.

Cannabinoids & Hemp

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As cannabis research is still in its infancy, there are a lot of questions surrounding this mysterious plant. Back in the 1990s, scientists discovered that marijuana triggered a specific response in the body—one that introduced them to a whole new evolutionary mechanism: the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

All mammals have an ECS, and this system has receptors in most of the organs throughout the body. During cannabis research, scientists discovered that the ECS responded to compounds within the plant—the compounds are now known as cannabinoids.

There are many different cannabinoids within the hemp plant. While THC and CBD are the most well-known, there are others as well like CBG and CBN that are used for their antibacterial and regenerative properties. Each cannabinoid affects the body in different ways, and hemp growers use this knowledge to cultivate plants accordingly.

All hemp plants contain the full gamut of cannabinoids, however, some plants are bred to minimize the amount of THC present. One major difference between hemp and marijuana is that marijuana is cultivated to grow greater portions of THC while hemp breeds it out.

THC is famous for getting people high. It is the only psychoactive compound in the cannabis plant. None of the others have the ability to get you high, including CBD, which is why many people choose it over THC.

How CBD Works

As far as wellness products go, CBD is the cannabinoid of choice for supplement vendors. It has the ability to help users find calm and relaxation. Within the body's ECS are two endogenous cannabinoids that are absorbed by two receptors in the central and peripheral nervous systems.

Because cannabis is still a controlled substance, CBD research can be harder to come by. What we do know is that this cannabinoid works by slowing down the enzymes that come in to clean up the work done by the ECS. This allows the body to benefit from its endocannabinoids for longer periods of time, yielding some fantastic wellness benefits.

By targeting a specific cytochrome in the brain, CBD helps to keep the mind and body in a relaxed state longer. One study showed that this drug had the effect of keeping lab rats in the REM stage of sleep for more time, which is consistent with the many CBD users who keep it handy as a sleep aid.

CBD and Sleep

Not only can CBD help people fall asleep and get a good night's rest, but it can also help in the regulation of mood. This could be because when serotonin levels get too low, people start to feel bad. By moderating the absorption of the happiness hormone, people may be able to stay in a more positive state for longer. This is another area that scientists are currently studying, so keep a lookout for more results in that direction.

If you suffer from chronic joint pain and inflammation, CBD may be worth exploring. Because it is a safe, non-toxic drug that doesn't put users at risk of addiction, more and more people are asking their physicians if CBD may be an answer for their pain.

No matter how safe CBD may be, it's up to you to try it for yourself and see if it's the right choice.

The Differences CBD vs THC

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CBD is a mild drug with analgesic and stress-reducing properties. It is not psychoactive, unlike THC—it's much wilder relative. THC is well known throughout culture. Almost everyone has a story about someone getting high, although the results vary. Some people don't feel the effects while others end up mindlessly watching hours and hours of TV (don't even need THC for that, amirite?).

However, despite THC's reputation, studies are being done that show its impact on mental health. One study shows that, over time, marijuana users reported having lower anxiety and depression. Still, plenty of people have had experiences on THC that were less than ideal. This risk of psychoactive response is why CBD is the preferred cannabinoid in medical applications.

Plus, THC is illegal in many areas. CBD is much easier to obtain, and it works very well.

Cannabinoids Working Together

Because hemp is now more accessible than ever before, more and more growers are cultivating this plant and getting it out into the markets. Ideally, the best hemp supplements keep as much of the plant's essences intact for users.

Why does it matter? Isn't CBD enough on its own? Well, yes, but the other compounds grown in the plant also have their own benefits. CBN, for example, seems to help people fall asleep more easily, while CBG may be helpful as an antibacterial supplement.

Other products of the plant, called terpenes, can have all kinds of positive benefits, making them important to include in wellness supplements. Good vendors will sell products that contain as many terpenes from the plant as possible, formulated for things like topical ointments, daily multivitamins, and wellness tinctures.

Basically, the more hemp-derived compounds you can get, the better the product is going to work. That's why buying quality products is important.

Will My CBD Supplement Contain THC?

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Technically, yes, but not in any significant amount. As THC is a controlled substance, laws require hemp growers to minimize it in the plants they grow. By the time the hemp is harvested and formulated for you, the THC is almost entirely gone.

Broad spectrum supplements usually contain more of the plant's natural compounds while keeping THC at a minimum. However, some full spectrum hemp oils will contain up to 5% THC. 

CBD vs THC: Finding the Right Products

Because it's easy for vendors to sell products that vary in quality, you have to be careful what you buy. Hemp products aren't regulated very heavily, so it's important to find standards wherever possible. This exists in two places: organic growing practices and lab reports.

By buying organic, you can ensure that the products you use won't contain any nasty chemicals. It also ensures that the soil is properly prepared and that the supplements are harvested as cleanly as possible.

The other place to check for quality is in the product's lab report. These documents give users an overview of CBD percentages within the supplement.

By following these tips, you should be well on your way to an excellent CBD experience.

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